Lawrence Dallaglio has warned the Rugby Football Union to get their house in order or risk the future success of the England team.
The RFU are currently without a permanent chairman, chief executive or head of human resources and another senior executive, the director of communications Peter Thomas, left the organisation this week after a turbulent last three months.
"It has not been the best few months for the Rugby Union and the sooner everything can be sorted out the better it will be," said former England captain and 2003 World Cup winner Dallaglio, who was speaking at the launch of ITV's World Cup coverage.
"It requires some strong leadership. The potential up-side is massive if they get themselves sorted out structurally. We have got an amazing Rugby World Cup coming here in the next four years.
"England is a sleeping giant. We have risen as giants once, in 2003, and there is no reason why we can't get back to where we need to be but it can't just be done on the pitch.
"It needs a bit of help off the pitch as well. If that is sorted out we will be a threat and the rest of the world will recognise that."
Dallaglio is confident the political upheaval at Twickenham will have no adverse effects on this year's World Cup campaign and may even, in a bizarre way, have actually helped the England players' preparations.
"All you have read about in rugby is the politics and the structure - the coaches and the players have been able to go about their training camp virtually untouched," said Dallaglio.
"In 2003 every day there was lots of press around the team but it is only going to start now. It might be a benefit."